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Summer 2013

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Evidence Kits Turning the Tide on Sexual Violence

The rape kit–or forensic evidence collection kit, to use its sanitized title–is something people in the West might take for granted. Not so in Sri Lanka where, until the advent of the sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE) program, there were no readily available rape kits. Instead, perpetrators of sexual violence acted with impunity.

Photo of a Tamil woman holding a sign.

To turn this tide, the Reintegration and Stabilization in the East and North program (RISEN)—a DAI-implemented program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives—launched the SAFE initiative. Of course, the introduction of rape kits will not in itself solve Sri Lanka’s pervasive problem of violence against women and girls. But when combined with SAFE’s other work, the humble $20 kit can be the building block for an integrated campaign against sexual violence. That is the mission of SAFE, and it is already beginning to show results.

Among its activities, SAFE is:

  • Developing and distributing forensic evidence collection kits.
  • Training medical and legal professionals in the use of kits and treatment of victims.
  • Designing curricula for universities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the effort.
  • Creating a national database on sexual assault cases.
  • Raising public awareness about sexual violence.

In Sri Lanka, the psychological wounds left over from the sexual violence inflicted during the country’s 30-year civil war remain raw even now, four years after peace was proclaimed. During the civil and sectarian conflict, rape and other abuse were used quite unequivocally as a weapon, primarily by military forces against civilian women and children.

The desensitizing effects of systematic sexual violence...

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To Unlock Job Growth in Egypt, Fix the “Micro-BEE”

Political crisis or no, Egypt’s government cannot afford to keep ignoring the issues that sparked two popular revolts in as many years. Issue number one for most Egyptians, especially young Egyptians, is employment. To meet the need for jobs, policy makers must do more to improve Egypt’s business enabling environment (BEE), not only at the national level, but also in the local administration trenches.

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Bottom-Up Decentralization: New Local Autonomy Kickstarts Community Governing in the DRC

When the new constitution for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was written, its main aim was to resolve the conflicts between warring factions that had brought the country to its knees. In the peace talks of 2002 and 2003, convened to assuage the demands of multiple interest and ethnic groups, it was agreed that the DRC would adopt something approaching a federal model. Each province would have its own government, elected assembly, revenue-raising powers, and a governor appointed by the provincial assembly. The existing 11 provinces were to be subdivided to make 26. These agreements were all incorporated in the final constitution of 2006.

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Ensuring that Forest Communities Own REDD+ Projects — Not the Other Way Around

Forests and climate change have never been more closely entwined in global climate policy discussions, and for good reason: the more forest, the less climate disruption. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation + Conservation (REDD+) initiatives aim to reward communities in and around forests for not converting forests to other land uses, and millions of dollars have been invested to this end. Done well, REDD+ projects can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the clearing or burning of forests, promote development in communities around forests, strengthen land tenure, conserve carbon-storing forests, and safeguard biodiversity. Done poorly, these projects can increase emissions through meaningless offsets, boost deforestation in adjacent areas, and displace indigenous people.

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Three Things That Really Mattered to Developing the Youth Workforce in Serbia’s Down Economy

Workforce development was a relatively late addition to the $25 million Preparedness, Planning and Economic Security (PPES) project implemented by DAI from 2006 to early 2013. Added to the project by the client, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in mid-2008, the activities eventually became known as the “Youth Support” sub-component and addressed one of the most common issues raised by many small and medium sized enterprises—a dearth of qualified talent in Serbia. When we asked these firms what were some of the key barriers to growth one of the most common answers was: “I can’t find people with the skills I need for my business.”

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Foreseeing a “Grave Crisis,” Will India 
Embrace Greater Water-Use Efficiency?

Long before any popular environmental movement existed, Mahatma Ghandhi said, “The earth, the air, the land, and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children.” Today, India faces many challenges, few of them more fundamental to long-term development than fresh water availability. The centrality of water to human health, agriculture, manufacturing, and ecosystems makes it imperative that India’s decision makers improve the stewardship of water resources.

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Competitiveness-Driven Growth: CIBER Process Breaks Barriers for Moldovan Entrepreneurs

Moldova used to be the garden of the Soviet Union. It shipped wine, cereals, fruit, and vegetables to the other Soviet Republics. The collapse of the Soviet Union also meant the near-collapse of its agricultural sector, in particular the high-value horticultural segment. The country is now engaged in an intensive effort to reclaim its position as a strong competitor in agricultural exports, both in the traditional markets to the east but also to the European Union. However, Moldovan entrepreneurs and policy makers face hurdles in their quest.

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